All of us here at PWSA take immense pride in delivering clean, safe drinking water to the more than 500,000 consumers we serve in the region. In a typical day we produce an average of 70 million gallons of drinkable water, but the water treatment process takes longer. From the point where water is drawn from the Allegheny River to the point where it reaches your tap, that process can take up to three days.
Rigorous water quality monitoring and testing and ongoing maintenance of our distribution system ensures the continued delivery of clean drinking water. As you can imagine, this takes every member of our PGH2O team!
Our Field Operations teams are out in our service area daily maintaining and upgrading our water infrastructure, including pipes, valves, fire hydrants, and water mains. A good example of routine field work that maintains water quality is fire hydrant flushing, something our customers have likely seen in the spring and summer. Flushing ensures that proper flow and pressure is available in our water distribution system, removes sediment, and serves as another water quality checkpoint – our Field crews check the chlorine levels of the water to ensure it’s in an appropriate range.
For more information, please view our brief explainer video.
When you see lead service line replacements in your neighborhood, it’s likely that work is being undertaken by one of our large contractor partners. While our in-house Engineering & Construction team manages this work, large contractors, who can leverage their size and equipment to perform a greater volume of work across our service area, often execute it.
PWSA’s Field Operations team also plays a crucial role here. In fact, since 2016, our Operations crews have replaced 1,558 public lead lines – that’s approximately 15% of our total replacements!
This is due to matters of efficiency. When a service line or water main leaks, PWSA’s Operations team responds to evaluate the issue and make repairs. If they find the service line to be lead, or if the leaking water main could impact a lead line during repair, they begin coordinating replacement of that line. That means not only does our team fix the leak that’s impacting customers, but they also replace the lead service line, leaving that customer, who just recently had an issue, with a lead-free service line and improved water quality.
During water meter inspections or replacements, Operations carefully inspects the private service line as it enters the home and records the pipe’s material, which is then provided to the customer and recorded in our system, helping us to plan future investments. Learn more via our new Water Quality one-pager.